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Links for March 3rd through March 8th

by Mel Starrs on March 9, 2011

in News

These are my links for March 3rd through March 8th:

  • THE FIRST STRAW – Good interview with Bill Dunster by Rupert Bates.
  • Unlocking the Potential of Empty Homes: 5 big housing lies and why the public doesn’t buy the housing crisis – Brilliant post. The 5 untruths are worth thinking about and reflect what I’ve seen in many blogs. Don’t believe all the ‘facts’ spouted by politicians when it comes to housing supply. Go read.
  • Interview with Peter Calthorpe, Author of “Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change” « The Dirt – A man after my own heart: “The problem with the environmentalists that are advocating for action on climate change now is they tend to create a checklist of technologies as a solution. If you look at Al Gore’s new book, it is just a compendium of different technologies that can be stacked up one on the other to solve the problem. It doesn’t really change the kinds of cities we live in, the kinds of communities we inhabit; it doesn’t address our lifestyle; it basically says we can solve it all with a new piece of technology. It’s the thinking that the electric car is the single solution, rather than reducing the amount of travel that we need to live our lives in a healthy and robust way. In the end it will take both.”
  • Architecture speak: An essay on the ridiculous way architects talk. – By Witold Rybczynski – Slate Magazine – Funny: “Seeking to distinguish themselves from lowly builders and carpenters, architects adopted a specialized vocabulary, often substituting complicated Latin-based words for their simpler Anglo-Saxon equivalents, for example, fenestration for window, entrance for door, chamber for room, trabeation for beam, planar for flat.”
  • Architects do matter, Mr Gove | Art and design | The Observer – “Worst of all was the waste inherent in BSF’s processes: it cost contractors up to £3m to bid for a package of schools. They would expect to win one in three, meaning that they would want to recover £9m from successful bids just to cover their bidding costs. <br />
    Gove’s department is unable to produce the figures on which he makes his assertions, saying that “detailed data on individual projects was held locally to minimise the regulatory burden on projects and project reporting”. It is, however, possible to find out that architects’ fees have been between 2.5% and 5% of construction cost. If capital costs other than construction are included, this can drop to well under 2% of the total. If, as happened under BSF, future running costs are included in the contract, architects’ fees become a tiny proportion. Most architects working on schools will tell you that it pays less well than almost any other kind of work and is sometimes loss-making.”
  • LEED Interpretations launches – “Similar to the Credit Interpretation Rulings you may be familiar with, LEED Interpretations are precedent-setting rulings that can be applied to multiple projects.”
  • On the march – RIBA Journal – “Onshore, the planning act only kicks in for energy projects of 50MW or more, but offshore this reduces to 1MW, meaning that even for a land-based substation for a small marine array, local planning protocols can be circumvented for determination by central government. The powers of the act are in fact enormous, so despite local objections, a large-scale offshore development might still go ahead if considered to be in the interests of national energy security; which certainly flies in the face of the government’s proposed localism bill that ostensibly seeks to take greater account of the local community.”
  • We have the power – RIBA Journal – I’ve always seen Nuclear as the domain of enegineers – interesting to see what architects bring to the table: “What, however, can architects bring to all this? It quickly becomes apparent during my talk with YRM’s John Clemow, Iain Macdonald, James Thomas and Jason Geen, that it amounts to a lot. Yes, the design of the reactor shells and the dimensions of the turbine halls are a given. But these are not silently humming automated places administered by robots. They have a very large human population looking after them, plus a lot of other people being trained, and large visitor centres. This means several other buildings. For instance, each site will have a simulator – a ‘shadow’ of the real station, for training purposes. ‘It’s a campus environment, with an intake of about 400 students,’ notes Macdonald. At maximum – during regular maintenance work every two to three years – each nuclear site must be able to support 1,200-1,400 people.”
  • Ministers push for green home tax breaks | News | Inside Housing – So unlikely to see consequential improvements in Part L 2013 either then? : “During the debate, Mr Barker effectively ruled out using regulation to force homeowners to make improvements to their properties, saying: ‘I can’t think if an easier and quicker way to piss off people and turn them off a programme that is so positive.’”